Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cardiology Update

Today Colin had his 6 month cardiology appointment at Texas Children's Hospital. I'm excited to report that there has been no changes in his heart function, so he does not have to go back for 6 more months! Matt and I get so nervous before these appointments. We know that sometime between now and 5 years old, there will be a point where the cardiologist comes and tells us it's time. Colin also has a leaky value that if stays the same they are happy with, but if it's gets worse, they will have to operate on it BEFORE his next planned surgery. That always sits in the back of my mind.

BUT today, Colin's cardiologist said he looked and sounded great, that he was very pleased with how well Colin is doing. Colin is still on the small side, but is growing well, he just started off small. Colin has no restrictions on physical activity and his medicines stayed the same (1\2 tablet of aspirin and Enapril for blood pressure).

The plan is still the same concerning the 3rd and hopefully final surgery, they would like to wait until Colin is 4 0r even possibly 5 years old. As long as Colin's heart function stays strong, we will keep going back every 6 months for a check-up.

Colin loved playing in the waiting room, but once we got back for testing, he changed his tune! Colin would NOT let him get his blood pressure or do the EKG. The doctor was fine with it since he sounded so good. When we go back in 6 months, Colin will get a sedated echo (ultrasound).

This great news today makes it even better that we are celebrating Colin's 2nd birthday this weekend. What an amazing life this two year old has had!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whew... What a Weekend.

Once Monday comes, I wonder "What happened to our weekend, where did it go?". We seem to keep so busy it just flies by! Saturday morning, Katherine had her first soccer game of the spring season. Even though we don't keep score, Matt did and we won by a large amount. The team did great their first season back, all BUT Katherine were really into the game. Katherine was more interested in the lady bugs and flowers on the field. Her attention span for the actual game was non-existent. So interesting start to the season, hopefully she gets more interested in the actual game then spinning circles on the field. After the game, my parents watched the kids while Matt and I went to the Bayou City Arts Festival. It was a beautiful day to walk around and look interesting painting, glass and wood works, jewelry , and photography. I bought some pretty hand blown glass magnets, but we didn't buy any art pieces this time. But it was nice to get out and enjoy sometime with just Matt and I. Sunday we had a picnic at the park/playground with my family. The kids had fun running around and burning off all their energy, and boy they do have a lot! After a few hours at the park, we went home and rested for a FULL HOUR :), before heading off to a birthday party. Colin's friend Liam had his 2nd birthday party at in an indoor moonwalk place, the kids had so much fun running and bouncing around with their friends. Colin loved the big slide, but was unable to climb up it himself, so I got to carry him up each time. We would fly down the slide, then he would scream "AGAIN". Man I got a work out doing that. Katherine had a lot of fun, since a lot of her friends have brothers in Colin's class, they were all there too. After the party, we came home and grilled fajitas and the kids played in the backyard. It was my parents last night in town before heading off to start their life of traveling nomads. The kids are going to really miss them while they are gone. Katherine got used to having Grandma put her to bed, read her stories, and sleep with her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Patrick's Day, Parents in Town, Elle Turns 2

What an eventful week. First of all Aly Jean's surgery was postponed to Monday March 28, she had to be pushed back for an emergency heart transplant for a newborn. I pray that all is well with that baby and of course continued prayers for Aly Jean's surgery this coming Monday! She is going to rock it like a superstar!

Thursday was St. Patrick's Day and I did not start off with the luck of the Irish! Coming out of the driveway, I heard.. Thump, thump, thump. So I got out and looked to see not just a flat tire, but one that had NO AIR and I was riding on the metal rim. I turned around and called Triple A (Thank you Dad for getting me the membership!) Katherine was all worried that she was going to miss her St. Patty's Day party and pizza delivery at school. I assured her that it was only 7am and I would get her there in time. Triple A took about an hour to come and put my spare on, thank God I was at home and not stranded on the streets somewhere with the kids! Here's a picture of us waiting on Triple A, all decked out in our green!
I took them to school, then spent the next 3 hours at the tire shop getting 3 new tires, I had two others that looked really bad. My wonderful, amazing husband knew I was having such a hard day, took off half a day and convinced me to do the same. We went out to Rice Village where there's lots of shopping, restaurants, and bars and celebrated St. Patrick's Day there with green beers and green margaritas! It was a nice day to sit out on the patio of a few places and have some drinks and go shopping. Matt always turns my bad days around for me! Seems like most our days off together, we end up drinking :) I was surprised to see so many people out celebrating St. Patty's day in the mid afternoon.. and some of the costumes.. Wow!
Friday at work, I got a surprising phone call from my parents that they were just a few hours away. They have been in Phoenix since New Year's Eve taking care of my grandma. So Friday night we told the kids that we were having dinner at Uncle's Russell's house but did not mention the special guest that were going to be there. Russell sat them on the couch and did a "magic trick" and had grandma and grandpa appear. The kids loved their surprise! They brought some gifts from their travels, but most important, my mom brought me some of my grandma's possessions to keep. I will treasure them always!

Saturday we went to a VERY special little girl's birthday party, Elle was turning 2! We met Elle and her parents during our first stay at Texas Children's. We were in the same pod area of the NICU, I ran into Elle's mom a lot of the milk bank, Elle and Colin had their first surgeries on the same day, they were roommates in ICU for a couple days, and we overlapped stays for Colin & Elle second surgeries! We became friends in the hospital, it is great to find a friend in the same tough situation as you, one that really understands what being a heart parent is all about. I am so proud of Elle and how well she is going. It is just a joy to see her grow up. Please also keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she is facing her 3rd heart surgery sometime this summer. She has an amazing family and support system and I am so excited to see many many more birthdays to come!
After the party we went to Matt's parents house to see how his mom was doing. That day while setting out a pot of flowers on the patio, she tripped and broke her wrist. She is having surgery on it tomorrow. We have such exciting families! Hoping for a quick and easy recovery, and of course it was her right hand!

Sunday afternoon my parents came over and have been staying with us since. The kids have really enjoyed them being home and I know they will be very sad when it is time for them to leave. We are gearing of for Katherine's first soccer game of the spring season. Matt and I are coaching again, we had equipment pick up and coaches camp this past Sunday. We have the full team returning from the fall season and the first game is this Saturday.

Here are also some random pics from around the house. Last week, Colin took a big likely to Katherine's barbies, snuggling them in bed and hiding behind the toy box. Colin and Uncle Russell racing down the slide, technically Uncle Russell got a head start, and Katherine riding her bike. She is doing so well at it, glad we have nice weather again!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prayers for Aly Jean - Fontan

Please pray for Aly Jean, she is having her Fontan today! This is the 3rd and final stage of the "planned" surgeries for HLHS. None of us know what the future holds for our HLHS heroes, but at birth we are told they will have a series of three surgeries. It is a great accomplishment to make it this far in the fight, while others are not as lucky.

Please pray that this will be her last medical intervention on her heart, and she is will grow strong and healthy, and live a very long long time with her mended heart. I pray for her parents that are about to hand her over to their trusted surgeons and God to help perform this miracle of making half a heart function as a whole heart.

Please give them strength as they have to wait patiently in the waiting room, which is a long and grueling day. I hope that her recovery goes smooth and she is home real soon. I have watched Aly grow over the year, she is an amazing, cute, spunky, adorable fighter! Her mom, Jenny, is a dear friend who is so strong and brave. Go Aly, you are going to do awesome!
Aly in her cute "zipper club" shirt!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Houston Rodeo 2011

Saturday we got up early and headed out to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was a beautiful day, even got some sun. We started out visiting all the livestock, the kids loved seeing the horses, cows, pigs, chickens & baby chicks, bunnies, goats, and even a bee and worm exhibit. Colin went on a pony ride, which he loved. They played on the tractors and even bought candy at the candy booth.
Then we went outside to the carnival. First we went through a Farmers market, where the kids had to collect (fake) eggs, milk, corn, fruit to then sell at the farmers market. With the "money" they earned, they were able to buy a treat (crackers and rice krispie treat). Then it was off to the carnival rides and games. Katherine really enjoyed the carnival games this year, winning more stuffed animals (as if we don't have enough of them). Colin was more into the rides, but he is too small for a lot of them, but luckily we found a few that he could ride. He reminded me of the movie Big, in the beginning where he is in line but he is "too small" to ride with his friends, making him wish to be big. Colin would run and point to a ride but the height requirement was 36 inches and he is 32… hopefully next year. But we did go one the carrousel, a carnival ride that spun us around( which he loved) and a two story slide (which I am not sure how he felt about it, but he didn't cry). On the other hand, Katherine the fearless has now discovered FEAR. Rides that she has done the last two years in a row, she was scared of. She loved the big slide last year, this year when she got to the top, she started crying and would not get on it. So I took Colin down, then had to go up and get her and bring her back down. She also cried on another ride, which she did the previous year. This year was NOT her year for rides :) But she had a great time otherwise!

We also visited a new exhibit this year , which was by far the highlight of our day, the Butterfly Tent. They enclosed you this large tent, where hundreds of butterflies were flying around. If you stayed still long enough, several would land on you, we were even amble to stick our hands out for them to land on us. The kids loved getting to be so close to the butterflies. It was amazing to get so close to them. They are beautiful creatures!
Of course we pigged out on carnival food! For lunch, we got a LOAF of fries, it was huge! We also had pretzels, funnel cake, and of course the kids chowed down on some cotton candy. Colin was shoveling it his mouth so fast as if someone was trying to take it away! Katherine got a cowgirl hat and lasso, which has become her new favorite toys this week along with all the stuffed animals she won.
We were at the rodeo for 5 1/2 hours, the kids slept ONLY 15 minutes on the ride home, then were wired for the rest of the day. I was exhausted, why don't they take naps! I like naps.. They should too! My mother-in-law said it was all the cotton candy :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phoenix Part 2

More on my trip to Phoenix last week. After my grandma's service, we had a nice reception at the church with lots of food, fond memories, grandma's favorite deserts including a lemon cake that she loved, and of course time for family. Afterwards we went over to my grandpa's house, where we ate more food and had time to catch up with one another. I sat on the floor and looked through my grandma's photo albums. She was so organized with her photos, it has inspired me to get better about not just keeping online albums, but real photos albums you can touch and flip through.

The next day, we got up and went on a 4 mile hike through the Sonoran Desert Trail, the same one my parents did for Colin's heart walk. We even got to see the flag they planted, it was still there. The hike took us a little over two hours. At some points, I realized how out of shape I really am. Yes I am active with the kids, we go for walks, we do chase around the house and backyard, and wagon rides.. BUT I don't climb mountains on a regular basis. I have a new found respect for how much hiking and exercise my parents do with their "retired" life. No wonder why my mom is so tone and fit, my legs were sore for TWO days after the hike.
But the hike was more than just a hike, it was very cleansing to the soul. After such a hard day at the memorial service, it was very therapeutic to get out into nature, to breathe fresh, clean mountain air, to not hear city noises, and to spend time with my parents and brother in such a unique setting. It was physically challenging at times, which was great to burn off some of the emotional stress, the sadness and anger of losing my grandma to cancer. Cancer robbed her of her youth, I say youth because even at 83, she was strong before the cancer took over. When we went a year ago, my grandma went hiking with us, went to the zoo, went shopping, she was youthful. It was great to get out and feel the sunshine and know that in spirit she was walking right along with us. It was nice to hear silence and have time for my mind, heart, and soul to so some "thinking".
That afternoon we went back to my grandpa's house with my extended family, grilled hamburgers, went to the pool and hot tub and even had some good laughs. Then next morning, it was off to the airport and home to my family which I missed a great deal. This was the longest I have been away from Colin. He sure was clingy when I got back :). I missed my family a lot while I was gone but so glad I made the trip.